IAN Evatt admits he may have to “re-think” Wanderers’ attitude to the cup competitions after seeing his players struggle under the workload last season.

The club played a total of 61 games in 2023/24, reaching the second round of the Carabao Cup, the third round of the FA Cup and the Northern Quarter Final of the Bristol Street Motors Trophy.

Evatt felt this squad had sufficient depth but suffered from losing key personnel at regular intervals, especially early in the New Year. This season he hopes to avoid such issues but the Bolton boss says he is considering his traditional approach to team selection in the knockout competitions.

“I don’t think the number of games helped us in the end,” he told The Bolton News.

“Whether we have to look at the cup competitions, for instance, and change our policy with that, I don’t know.

“Sixty-one games was too much last season, full stop, and it’s something we will think about now.

“But we are working very hard to make this squad better and that is where all our focus is on at the moment.”

Wanderers used 25 players in League One last season, fewer than any other club.

Across all three knockout competitions there were 27 different players used – with Luke Mattheson and Nelson Khumbeni the only two drafted from the B Team for experience but not used in the league.

Evatt does not want to carry a significantly bigger first team squad this season, which could mean more opportunities for younger players at the club in the early rounds.

“If everyone would have been fit and available it would have been a pretty big squad, I think, but the problem was that we kept on getting injuries,” he added.

“Dan Nlundulu was getting up to speed and then got a serious one, Carlos (Mendes Gomes) was doing well, then gets a serious injury. We had Nathan Baxter and Rico (Santos) out for a spell, Eoin (Toal) carrying an injury, Dion (Charles) out, key players. We just needed a bit of luck.

“Of course we are going to strengthen the squad and the team this summer. We are going to bring fresh energy and positivity into the group. But not having so many injuries would be nice. Two or three of them you can deal with but the level it got by the end of the season it really took its toll.”

Meanwhile, Evatt says Stephen Crainey is already proving a valuable addition to the coaching staff after making the switch from Wigan Athletic.

The Scot was appointed joint assistant manager last month and is currently with the team out on Portugal for an intensive training camp.

“People have different skillsets, different talents, whether it’s on the grass, whether it’s motivational, all coaches are different. We were missing someone like Stephen,” he said.

“I have known him a long time, I trust him, he is a good man who is good at what he does. We were excited to add him to our coaching staff. And it is for us now to really work with the players and improve them.”